Monday Morning Round Up ~ April 12th

It’s snowing!
😂😂😂
We spent the weekend getting ready for this storm, because it’s been predicted for almost a week and we knew we had to get things ready…

Hubby finished re-furbishing the former pig house.
Our last pigs were savages.
Literally.
The big male was chewing on the wood sides for fun.
They had toys, endless food, giant stumps to throw around and he still loved to just chew the wood off the side of the shelter.
He was something, that boy…and he was the *nicest* pig of the 3.
The girls were crazy assed bitches.
I have never been quite so happy to send animals to Freezer Camp as I was those pigs!

Anyway, Hubby got the shelter re-furbished, wood on the sides and a new door…then he fixed the gate to that yard and it’s now the permanent duck yard.
We didn’t replace the pallet fence yet, but it’ll be fine for another year yet.
Then we moved ducks.
How did we get sooooo many ducks??
😂😂😂
Oh.
Yeah.
It’s because we let the hens sit nests.
Speaking of…
Our best mama hen, Ripple, has 22 eggs under her.
Fingers crossed that she hatches them all (or most of ’em).
She seems to have adjusted to moving her and her nest fairly well.
We initially left her in with the turkeys, but turkeys is assholes and they were beating her up, trying to force her off her nest. 😡
So Hubby and The Kid caught her and moved her in with the rest of the ducks…gave her the eggs she was sitting in her own little space, and this morning, even with the storm wailing around outside, she was happily chirruping at The Kid whilst sitting on her new nest.
We are hopeful.

Then everyone got new straw.
We’re working off the last round bale we bought in the Fall for the horses…so that means wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load moved to the poultry houses.
But it works well, even if it can be time consuming.
We just do what we have to, to make sure all the critters weather the storm safely. 🙂

Hubby pulled a new bale of hay out of the garage.
We’re at that point in the year where we start using the ones we have stored for next year…but because weather is so odd (she said while looking at the snow/rain coming down outside her window) we pull 1 at a time.
We pay way too much for dried grass to waste *any* of it!
And never, ever think I am disparaging our Hay Guy!
Oh. Freakin’. No!
He makes amazing hay that keeps my Merry Mares fat and sassy throughout the coldest of colds and wettest of wets, and he stands behind his product.
No complaints from me.
But I won’t waste a stem of it if I can help it, because hay is a precious commodity and that’s all there is to it.

Chicks got another light…
Thankfully we had an extra, so now they have 3 heat lamps…but really, there’s a lot of them, and they’re 3weeks apart in age and the Little Red Shed isn’t insulated…so we give ’em heat lamps to cuddle under…and everyone was doing awesome this morning.

Speaking of lights, my grow light is up and over my tomatoes now.
The peppers have been growing gangbusters, so are in need of transplanting. Especially the Shepherd peppers, where every single seed seems to have germinated and they are packed into their little cells.
lol
No complaints, I love roasted red peppers, so I’m happy to grow many, many peppers.
This year the plan is to smoke a bunch, dry them and grind them as spices for winter.
That’s part of the reason for the diversity in heat levels too…

And today we’re watching the precipitation come down.
Maybe we’re not too chuffed about it being snow, but it’ll be melting by Saturday and the land needs the moisture.
Like I wrote last week, Lake Midnight never appeared this year, that’s how dry it’s been.
While that seems awesome, that means not enough moisture in the land to get a good start on the growing season.
And here, the growing season isn’t just the garden, it’s the grasses that we eventually cut and feed to the animals too.
Nothing was greening at all. Just brown, dry and crunchy.
This will change that.
And hopefully, our May 1st celebration can include a Beltane fire.
We didn’t get to have our Samhain Ancestral Fire because of crazy wind and weather, so I am hopeful that this moisture will give us the chance to celebrate Beltane with fire.
As it should be.
🙂

Chicks and Chickens

I love this time of year.
Spring brings new life on the Farm, and new hope for a prosperous year ahead.

Our first round of eggs has hatched.
I initially set 80 eggs between the 2 incubators.

In the small incubator was all the blue and green eggs I was able to collect before starting.
22 colours and 2 browns.
Of those eggs, we had 20 hatch.
1 died in the shell, and the last 3 weren’t fertile.

Chicks in the small incubator…can you tell who’s going to be the trouble maker in this group?

In the big incubator I set 56 eggs.
1 was tossed due to having cracked in collection…those frozen eggs can really fool you with the cracks sealing back up when thawed.
In total, we had 24 hatch out.
5 of the unhatched were viable.
1 of those died shortly after pipping, the other 4 died in different stages of development.
The last 26 eggs weren’t fertile.

Don’t mind the phone pics…it’s too hard to use Voldemort when the chicks are still int he incubators. 🙂

Overall, I’m happy with 44 little chirp chirps this round.
Considering those eggs were collected during our polar vortex cold snap that darn near snapped us all, any life coming from them is amazing and makes me happy.

Now the small incubator has 24 greens and blues in it, due to hatch in 2 weeks time, while the big one awaits the arrival of turkey eggs sometime next week. 🙂

We’ll keep running the incubators until mid-summer.
Last year my last hatch finished the first week of July, and with excellent Fall weather, we were able to put all the extra roosters in the freezer. Fingers crossed for that kinda luck again!
This year though, I want to keep better track of how many roosters we butcher.
That way I know if I have to up my hatching game next year.
I will say, I am considering a 3rd incubator just for turkeys…though, I have noticed lots of folks will run chicken eggs in an incubator with turkey eggs.
I might try that. We’ll see how my turkey hens do when they start laying…if I get a lot of eggs from them, I might just spend the money for a 3rd.

The current crop of hens is happy as can be with Spring weather too.

Dust bathing…

They sure do make a mess of the lawn.
😂😂😂
This is just outside the gate to their yard…because heaven forbid the jerks stay in their yard and dustbath in there…oh no, that would make too much sense!
And if there’s one thing chickens ain’t got, it’s sense!
😂😂😂

They’re so funny…

😂😂😂

Canada Geese

The geese have returned.

We’re right in the flight path of thousands of Canada Geese.
Which means they often land on our field in the spring and in the fall.
If it’s snow geese in the spring, we’re happy, because our fall hunting tag is valid for spring hunting of snow geese.
In the fall, we don’t care what lands, Canadas, snows…they’re both good eating.

One side effect of the geese arriving though, is sleep deprived horses.
Unless you’ve lived next to a hoard of honkers, you have no idea how loud they are.
And, at all hours.

This ^^^ is the face of a pissed off at the geese honking 24/7 horse.
She’s actually lying in the straw pile (from February’s bale explosion) trying to nap.
But those geese…they never stop honking.
😂😂😂

Today we’re dealing with a snow storm.
I was a wee bit worried about my chicks, outside in the brooder.
But they have 2 heat lamps, a whole lot of feed and clean water.
They’re bopping around in there just fine.
We did lose 2 of them earlier this week.
It happens sometimes.
1 was really small, the other was normal sized, but it died under the heat lamp.
Either it was crushed in a pileup or it just wasn’t a healthy chick.
So far though, the other 43 are doing amazing!

Next run of the incubators is coming up…hopefully this weekend I’ll hear from the woman with the hatching eggs I wanted.
And then, it’s collect eggs from my birds and go.

I’m looking forward to that.
🙂

It’s Almost Time!

It’s day 19.
The turners came out of the incubators today.
We oughta hear cheep, cheep, cheeping in the next couple of days.

Hatching can start as early as day 20 and go as late as day 23.
Soon though, we’ll see what our hatch rate for this round is.

This is exciting to me.
I’m not sure this will ever get old.
🙂

These are from last year.

There will be new pictures once we see what/how many hatch.

New Ducks

Say hello to our new trio of muscovy ducks…

There’s 2 hens and a drake there.
They’re young yet, being a Sept. 2019 hatch.
But, in the next month or two, the hens will start to lay and hopefully the drake will get to work doing what drakes do best.
He’s got a total of 6 hens to service and I’m hoping her does that.
I want these girls to give me ducklings…many, many ducklings.
🙂

Oh, Hello!

How do you know it’s Spring at Midnight Calico Farm?

Because all the feral/stray/other farm cats show up here looking for a meal.

This fellow:

Appeared in the garage a while ago…
Maybe a month?
Maybe more.
They’re always really sketchy when they first arrive.
Then they learn that food arrives twice daily up at the house.
If you miss those meals, you have to hunt.

He’s been here long enough to know about meals.
He’s been here long enough to know about drinking from the horse trough.

So now the plan is to try and trap him and get him in for neutering.
As always, boys are welcome to stay so long as they’re not hormonal assholes who beat up the other cats.
So far, it seems he’s young enough that the raging hormones haven’t taken over.
Plus it helps that all my girls are fixed too.
🙂

Oh and his name?
Hobbes.
Because he absolutely looks like the wonderful stuffed tiger from my favorite comic strip ever, Calvin and Hobbes.

Sharing with Brian’s Home for Thankful Thursday
and
Oak Hill Homestead for the Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Busy Day

I feel like I’ve been going non-stop today.

From getting the feed ready for chickens this morning, I don’t think I’ve sat very long at all.
lol
But we have fresh hamburger buns for supper, a chocolate angel food cake for dessert, homemade mayo for next week’s lunches, plus homemade coleslaw and dressing…
Then all the clean up to go with that.
Oh!
And homemade cream cheese made from last week’s left over milk.
YUM!

And I’m prepping the pots for pepper seeds.
Then moving things around for the incubators.
Yup, got my 80 eggs ready to set, so gotta get that going too.

At the end of it all will be a nice glass of green tomato wine waiting for me.
Aaaaannnd, I have to get that bottled too.
🤦‍♀️
That’s what I get for complaining that I’m having to wait too long to get stuff going.
lol

20 days to spring!!

Sooooo Close!!!

After a week of frustration (trying not to be frustrated) of no new news on the tracking for my incubator, a friend mentioned to check with our local post office…because the courier doesn’t ship outside of the big city, but hands parcels off to Canada Post.
Well…wooooooohoooooooo!!!
My incubator is sitting at our local post office.
So, Monday I get to go pick it up.
🙂

And then, March 1st, I set my first round of eggs…
80 eggs.
There will be so many chicks!

15 chirp chirps

Like this ^^^ but so many more.
I’m looking forward to it.
🙂

Almost Here!

Tracking says my incubator is in the nearest big city.
All I need is for it to make it to where we can pick it up.
Squeee!!

And, I’ve contacted the lady I bought Lemon Chicken’s batch of chicks from…

Lemon Chicken is in this box somewhere!

She’s selling hatching eggs from the same crosses that Lemon Chicken came from.
Hopefully I’ll be getting 2 dozen from her at the end of the month.
Looking forward to firing up the incubators!

Hoping to hatch out a few more like her! 😉